The Perfect Compromise: 100 + 180 = 280 ÷ 2 = 150??? And Two Great-buy Big Lenses for Sale! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Perfect Compromise: 100 + 180 = 280 ÷ 2 = 150??? And Two Great-buy Big Lenses for Sale!

What’s Up?

Things having been going downhill slowly since my recent great mornings down by the lake. This morning was poor despite the perfect weather and winds from the east. But I did learn something huge about my SONY a7R iii! And there is always tomorrow. The weather has actually been lovely here for more than a week and I have been swimming my slow 3/4 mile every afternoon. This morning — Thursday, May 23, 2019 I will be doing some focus fine-tuning with the D850 that was repaired recently.

Huge Late-registration Instructional Photo-Tour Discounts Made Public

I an effort to fill a very few remaining slots, I am offering a $3,000 late registration discount on the UK Puffins, Gannets, and Red Kite IPT (one slot) and a $4,000 late registration discount on the Galapagos Photo Cruise of a lifetime (one slot) — the world’s very best Galapagos photo trip. We do the three world-class landings twice each: North Seymour, Hood, and Tower … Join us. Click here and scroll down for the trip details. Please e-mail with questions.


BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.


Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. Most recently the price of used Canon 600mm f/L IS II lenses have been dropping like a rock with the introduction of the 600 III. You can always see the current listings by clicking here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

As used gear sales have slowed a bit in recent months — especially with dSLR bodies, there are lots of great buys right now both below and on the Used Gear Page.

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Eric Chen is offering a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for the BAA record-low price of $6998.00. The sale includes everything that came in the orignal box including the lens trunk, the lens strap, the front lens cover, the warranty card, a Realtree Max 4 LensCoat, a RRS replacement foot, the 52mm drop-in polarizer (a $229.00 value), a LensCoat Hoodie, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only. Your lens will not ship until youyr check clears unless another payment method is used.

Please contact Eric via e-mail or by phone at 1-413-210-3636 (Eastern time).

The 600 II has been the state of the art super-telephoto lens for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many years. When I was using Canon and could get it to my location, it was always my go-to weapon. It is fast and sharp and deadly alone or with either TC. With a new one going for $9,499, you can save a cool $2501.00 by grabbing Eric’s lens now. The lighter 600 III goes for $12,999.00! artie

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM with internal Extender 1.4X Lens

Eric Chen is also offering a Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM with internal Extender 1.4X lens in like-new condition for the BAA record-low price by far of $6999.00. The sale includes everything that came in the orignal box including teh lens trunk, the lens strap, the front lens cover, the warranty card, a Snowtree LensCoat, a RRS replacement foot, a LensCoat Hoodie, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only. Your lens will not ship until youyr check clears unless another payment method is used.

Please contact Eric via e-mail or by phone at 1-413-210-3636 (Eastern time).

This is the world’s best lens for a trip to Africa. It kills also in the Galapagos and in South Georgia, the Falklands, and Antarctica. I used mine a lot at Bosque and other dusty places where the built-in TC helps to keep your sensor clean. And I loved it in the Palouse for its versatility. Most recently, I often found myself wishing that I had taken the 200-400 rather than my 500 II on the Bear Boat Cubs IPT. Many nature photographers use it as their workhorse telephoto lens as it offers 784mm at f/8 with an external 1.4X TC added. The lens sells new at B&H right now for $10,999. You can save exactly $4,000.00 of your hard-earned dollars by grabbing Eric’s lens right now. artie

sunflower-juxtaposition-_BUP2086-Indian-Lake-Estates-FL-1

This image was created on the morning of April 26, 2019 in my backyard. I used the hand held Sigma APO 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro lens for Nikon F with my backup mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 800. Matrix metering at about +1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/5 in Manual mode was perfect with the histogram pushed all the way to the right. AUTO1 WB at 7:44am on a still, cloudy morning.

A single AF point four or five down from center Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The point was placed on the center of the lower flower.

Image #1: sunflower (?) juxtaposition

The Perfect Compromise: 100 + 180 = 280 ÷ 2 = 150???

Yes, 280 divided by 2 does = 140 (not 150). But for me, 280mm divided by 2 did equal 150mm. How did I figure that out?

I have always liked to photograph flowers. When I used Canon gear, my first macro lens was the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens. I loved the reach at 3X. I always used it on a tripod. At times, I added the 1.4X teleconverter to get to 252mm. When I worked with Denise Ippolito, I marveled at her abilty to use the Canon 100mm macro lens, usually hand holding it. Heck, it does not come with a tripod collar. I wound up buying the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens. Denise eventually switched to the IS version. I used that lens both hand held and on a tripod. I did need to purchase the Canon Tripod Mount Ring D.

When I switched to Nikon I wanted to add a macro lens. I looked around and could not decide whether to buy the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED or the Nikon AF Micro-NIKKOR 200mm f/4D IF-ED. But during my search I came across the Sigma APO 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro lens for Nikon F and went with that. It turned out to be the perfect compromise and saved me quite a few bucks as well. And yes, it is quite sharp.

For Canon users: Sigma APO Macro 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Lens for Canon EF

Hand Holding for Macro

Hand holding a macro lens offers many of the same advantages as hand holding telephoto lenses for bird photography: it is much easier to move about in the field and to position your lens perfectly. And it is a lot more fun not having to drag around a heavy tripod and a decent tripod head. You do, however, need to use a fast enough shutter speed to create sharp images and that often requires higher ISOs and the use of relatively wide apertures. For me, the biggest problem I have hand holding a macro lens is the difficulty that I have keeping the lens still. I am always moving slightly, swaying a bit if you would. And as we age this becomes more and more of a problem. It effects both framing and image sharpness. To get around those limitations I will — once I have the image design somewhat lined up — take many photos. One will always be the sharpest. 🙂

sunflower-_BUP2229-Indian-Lake-Estates-FL-1

This image was created on the morning of April 27, 2019 in my backyard. I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sigma APO 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro lens for Nikon F with my backup mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 800. Matrix metering at about +1/3 stop: 1/25 sec. at f/16 in Manual mode was perfect with the histogram pushed all the way to the right. AUTO1 WB at 7:48am on a still, cloudy morning.

A single AF point one up and one to the right of center Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The point was placed just to our left of the center of the flower.

Image #2: sunflower (?) single blossom

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Macro on the Tripod with the FlexShooter Pro

If you take the time work on a tripod when doing macro, most folks will wind up with sharper images. And if you wish to stop down for more depth of field, being on a tripod allows you to do so while working with relatively low ISOs. The Sigma 150 macro comes with a tripod collar as standard equipment. The FlexShooter Pro is ideal for macro work as there is zero ballhead creep; you frame the images as you want either through the viewfinder or in live view with just a bit of tension set and when you tighten the Silver Bullet Knob the framing does not change. If you missed the just-released FlexShooter Pro video, click here.

Note: it is impossible to balance the Sigma 150 properly on the FlexShooter Pro if you use a D850 with the grip. That is why I use my back-up D850 for macro — no vertical grip on that one.

Why Such a Soft Out-of-Focus Background at f/16?

One would think. — as often happens with bird photography even with long lenses and relatively distant backgrounds — that working at f/16 would have brought up lots of unwanted background detail in Image #2. What are folks missing? With the lens relatively close to the flower, less than 6 inches for sure, the background at about 3 feet is relatively distant. In addition, depth-of-field is minimized the closer you are to the subject. Note that the stem of the flower, only an inch behind the blossom, is completely out-of-focus …

Notes: the flower in Image #2 is the same species as in Image #1. The blossom in Image #2 was picked from Jim’s butterfly garden (in my backyard) and positioned using a Wimberley Plamp that I keep mounted to an old tripod. I is quite a useful accessory for macro shooters.

Your Help Needed

If you can positively identify the flower, please leave a comment and let us know if it is wild or introduced. The diameter of the fully-devleoped blossom in Image #2 is about two inches.

Which do you think is the stronger image, the juxtaposition or the single blossom? Let us know why you made your choice and what you like or don’t like about each.

UK-puffins-2018-CARD-

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All of the images on this card were created on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Seahouses, Bempton Cliffs, and the Dunbar, Scotland Gannet boat to Bass Rock! Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 1

Please e-mail to learn about the very large late-registration discount

Join me in the UK in late June and early July 2019 to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, Red Kite, and more both in flight and at close range. We will also have great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many of those chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. There will be tons of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton, especially about sky conditions and the relationship between light angle and wind direction and their effects on flight photography.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine, endure a two-hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning. First we drive down to Bridlington for easy access to Bempton Cliffs where our primary targets will be Northern Gannet in flight. We will also get to photograph Razorbill, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. While in Bridlington we will spend one afternoon visiting a Red Kite feeding station that should provide lots of flight photography action.

While in Bridlington we will staying at the White Horse Inn in Cranswick, about twenty minutes from Bempton Cliffs. After 3 1/2 days of photography there, we drive down to Seahouses in Northumberland to the two lodges that will be our home base for a week. After a short boat ride each day we will have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day — usually in ideal cloudy-bright conditions. While we are in Seahouses we will do six puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course; last year we did not miss a single landing. In five years we have averaged losing less than one half day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the mornings and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon sessions. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale lodges with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The bedrooms are decent-sized. Each lodge has one double bedroom and two twin bedrooms. (See the single supplement info below.) At the lodges we cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the six puffin boat trips. For dinners we will alternate cooking in the lodges with fine dining at several excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

On the morning of Monday, July 8, 2019, the plan is to sleep late, pack, and head up to Dunbar Harbor, Scotland for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 9, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip (both weather permitting). On both trips we will enjoy great views of the huge gannetry at Bass Rock. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Very early on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, we will drive up to Edinburgh Airport so that everyone can make their flights home. No moaning please. You will need a flight that leaves at 8:30am or later. Not too much later is generally best.

UK-Puffins-2017card

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All images were created on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All ground transportation, lodging costs, meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting, we will enjoy three and one-half days (at least six sessions in all) at Bempton Cliffs, an afternoon with the Red Kites, six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trip.

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome, heck, we actually need two couples — please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on February 28, 2019. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

I truly hope that you can join me on this exciting venture.

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.





Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

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Typos

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10 comments to The Perfect Compromise: 100 + 180 = 280 ÷ 2 = 150??? And Two Great-buy Big Lenses for Sale!

  • Hi Artie,

    Osprey silhouette, beauty, only thing that bugs me is the perch touching the tail.

    regards,
    Howard.

  • avatar Dr. Jerry Turner

    No guarantee but your flower may be a Blanketflower (gaillardia aristata). Grows wild from Colorado to the Pacific, but can be grown in Florida gardens. Identified (as a probable) using the free Plantnet app and your second image.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Jerry. You are correct sir! From Ethan Dropkin:

      It is the yellow form of Gaillardia pulchella, Blanketflower, native to north and central Florida.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Matt

    Artie,

    Sigma 150 listed on B&H as discontinued!

    If you had the grip attached to the d850 and an L bracket, and that camera body configuration then outweighed the lens, would it be more appropriate to mount the L-bracketed body directly to the FlexShooter? Or maybe I should be asking more generally at what point does a tripod collar for a given lens become necessary? For if the 100mm Canon didn’t come with one…

    Very nice, detailed FlexShooter demonstration video, by the way!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Bummer. I love that lens. That might be OK with the 100 macro but you would have to try it … In general you do not want to put the camera on a tripod head with a too-heavy lens attached. NG …

      Glad that you like the video. I will get back to you on the stuff you are getting from us on Tuesday after Jim unboxes the big order 🙂

      with love, artie

  • Artie

    You are on Facebook. just leave a copy of the flower on plant identification along with location and you will get an answer

  • Beautiful and Simple Images of Flowers like the ones in the Blog really make me smile….

    I absolutely love those images, specially the second one…. I have the same lens Sigma 150 Macro. It is absolutely superb with D850..

    Unfortunately my D850 got in contact with salt water in Fort Desoto. I sent it to Nikon repair, hope they are able to fix it.

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